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The Westminster Legacy: The Collector's Edition / Clara Haskil, Willi Boskovsky, Leopold Simoneau, Teresa Stich-Randall et al. [40 CDs]

Notes & Reviews:

Classicstoday.com
Scherchen's "Eroica" rocks. Adopting what at the time (1958) seemed absurdly fast speeds in the outer movements, a funeral march bereft of excessive sentiment, top-to-bottom ensemble clarity, and a comparatively cavalier approach to ensemble discipline, it turns out that the old maestro actually beat many of today's period instrument folks at their own game. The whole performance whizzes by with boundless energy, and it's great fun.

The First Symphony has a lot going for it: a very fresh sounding opening pair of movements, a marvelously grotesque funeral march (the conductor really is in his element, reveling in Mahler's bizarre orchestral colors), and a finale that's simply exciting as hell despite instrumental execution in the fast sections from brass and strings that at times verges on desperation.

Can these recordings really be 50 years old? They hardly sound their age. Even card-carrying audiophiles will be impressed with the Mozart Concerto's ideal orchestra/piano balances and sonic warmth. [...] These miraculous performances belong in every serious piano collection. Haskil's Scarlatti sonatas are paradigms of control, taste, color, ornamentation, and timing. [...] Discover Clara Haskil's genius Scarlatti playing for yourself, then write Universal a big fat thank you note for reissuing these performances.

We're not likely to hear from authentic instruments the melting sweetness of Willi Boskovsky's violin in the Benedictus, nor his warmth and long-breathed phrasing.[...] Soloists are led by tenor LTopold Simoneau, whose every appearance is a cause for joy. The voice is a marvel: mellifluous without being cloying, the phrasing perfection itself, the feeling strong in every bar. His Boskovsky-accompanied Benedictus alone is worth the price of this set.

Audiophile
Released in 1958, these performances attest to a distinct personality in Beethoven, one disarmingly "modern" in his approach to the "Pastorale" in particular. Since the late 1980's, with the advent of the Norrington and Zinman [...] emphases on Beethoven's original metronome markings, the quick tempos set by Scherchen no longer seem eccentric.

Monteux's soloists are in great voice, especially S÷derstr÷m and Vickers. This is a Ninth of spirit and musical naturalness, re3sonant with the conductor's savvy personality. Add it to your shopping cart.

The monumentality of the outer movements [of the Bruckner], their ease of periodic transition, marks a great temperament in a milieu very much his own. The Wagner tempi are generally quicker than earlier inscriptions, though maintaining the air and pageantry in the Parsifal Prelude, the grand spaciousness in Lohengrin, and the harmonic luxury of the Siegfried Idyll.

Scherchen manages not only a colossal scale for this piece, but he coaxes infinite colors from strings and winds that vibrate with all the energy of folklore.

Classical Music: The Third Ear
Brian Priestman made the first full-length recording in 1964, and his cast - Stich-Randall, Forrester, Young and Watts among them - revealed a generation of singers who could balance vocal beauty with stylistic sensitivity. That's a recording worthy of revival.

CD 1: Released in 1958, these performances attest to a distinct personality in Beethoven, one disarmingly modern in his approach to the Pastorale in particular. Since the late 1980s, with the advent of the Norrington and Zinman [...] emphases on Beethoven's original metronome markings, the quick tempos set by Scherchen no longer seem eccentric.
Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition

CD 3: Monteuxs soloists [...] are in great voice, especially Soderstrom and Vickers. This is a Ninth of spirit and musical naturalness, resonant with the conductor's savvy personality. Add it to your shopping cart.
Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition

CD 9/10: The monumentality of the outer movements [of the Bruckner], their ease of periodic transition, marks a great temperament in a milieu very much his own. The Wagner tempi are generally quicker than earlier inscriptions, though maintaining the air and pageantry in the Parsifal Prelude, the grand spaciousness in Lohengrin, and the harmonic luxury of the Siegfried Idyll.
Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition

CD11: The First Symphony has a lot going for it: a very fresh sounding opening pair of movements, a marvelously grotesque funeral march (the conductor really is in his element, reveling in Mahler's bizarre orchestral colors), and a finale that's simply exciting as hell despite instrumental execution in the fast sections from brass and strings that at times verges on desperation.
David Hurwitz, classicstoday.com

CD 13: Scherchen manages not only a colossal scale for this piece, but he coaxes infinite colors from strings and winds that vibrate with all the energy of folklore.
Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition

CD 15: Can these recordings really be 50 years old? They hardly sound their age. Even card-carrying audiophiles will be impressed with the Mozart Concertos ideal orchestra/piano balances and sonic warmth. [...] These miraculous performances belong in every serious piano collection. Haskils Scarlatti sonatas are paradigms of control, taste, color, ornamentation, and timing. [...] Discover Clara Haskils genius Scarlatti playing for yourself, then write Universal a big fat thank you note for reissuing these performances.
Jed Distler, classicstoday.com

CD 32-33: Were not likely to hear from authentic instruments the melting sweetness of Willi Boskovskys violin in the Benedictus, nor his warmth and long-breathed phrasing.[...] Soloists are led by tenor Leopold Simoneau, whose every appearance is a cause for joy. The voice is a marvel: mellifluous without being cloying, the phrasing perfection itself, the feeling strong in every bar. His Boskovsky-accompanied Benedictus alone is worth the price of this set.
Dan Davis, classicstoday.com

CD 35-37: Brian Priestman made the first full-length recording in 1964, and his cast - Stich-Randall, Forrester, Young and Watts among them - revealed a generation of singers who could balance vocal beauty with stylistic sensitivity. That's a recording worthy of revival.
Classical Music: The Third Ear (2002)



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